Intro to Watsonopolis

There was one who once said crazy things like, give your possessions to the poor, let your light shine, go to the ends of the earth, love God, love your neighbor, serve, pray, die and live. Those words, the words of Jesus, have gripped and shaped our lives.

Because of Jesus’ life, challenge and love we are propelled into an amazing life journey; a journey that most often finds us pitching our tent among the poor and those on the margins of our world, serving, living, teaching, learning and loving there.

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Tuesday
Sep212010

The last 125 days

There really isn't a good way for me to try and summarize the last four months, just as there isn't a good way for me to explain why I haven't posted since May.  We have had some amazing stories - events that require reflection and stories that should be told.  But somewhere in between the living of them, we just moved on to the next one.  So rather than try and relay events from the summer, here are some things that I learned and those I learned them from. 

1.  Hometown heroes aren't always heroes in their hometown

Someone that has had a deep and profound impact on Lisa and I is the work and ministry of Dr. John & Vera Mae Perkins.  I've written about them before, so I won't recap here except to say that their lives are testimonies to the best parts of who we can be as people and what it means to faithfully follow Jesus.  John Perkins has been named one of Christianity's most influential people, he's written books that are read world wide, he's in history books, he speaks at colleges nation wide, entire wings of college buildings are named after him - in other words, he's sort of a big deal.  The thing is, in his hometown of Jackson, MS, there's still a ton of folks who may not know who he is.  Lisa and I traveled to Jackson for Dr. John & Vera Mae's 50 yr. anniversary of ministry (and JP's 80th birthday).  It was a great celebration, and folks flew into the Jackson airport, literally, from all over the country.  Former governors, civil rights workers, college professors, ministers from everywhere were there.  We sat at a table with a young woman from Jackson who told us, "I didn't know Dr. Perkins was so well known".  We chuckled.  

2. My family is amazing...hilarious, but amazing

About every three years I make the pilgrimage to Love County Oklahoma for my family's annual family reunion.  I love my family reunion.  I always have.  I have never, ever had a bad experience there.  I always leave more proud of who I am and who I'm related to.  And I always leave with amazing stories about my kin folk.  More and more, the older I get, the more amazed I am that I'm related to this family.  We are different.  And I love that.  But it is remarkable really.  Nevertheless, despite the differences that seem to grow over time, there is still the memory that the cousin I seem so different from now, is still the same cousin I swam across the pond with year after childhood year.  The center holds because despite how I change moving forward, there is a past that refuses to change.  Sometimes that's a bad thing, but for me, with this family, its a very, very good thing. 

 

3.  I love California

Texas is God's country.  You will never get me to say anything to the contrary.  Memphis has style, swagger and sass like no other, and I love it tons.  But, man I like me some California.  I know my California friends will hate to know this, but me and the mrs. slipped into an out of California without telling anyone in the middle of the summer for a quick get away.  And somewhere in between the Sierra Nevada camp outs, the In n Out burgers and the streets of San Francisco I was reminded again what a magical place California can be.

4.  Those who embody hope in the midst of chaos are my heroes.

I know this is the second 'hero' reference, but here's what I'm learning.  I'm drawn to those who, in the middle of a crisis, incarnate a hope and a faith that perseveres.  Samuel Kargbo is a fellow DMin student that I met in Ghana.  Samuel pastors a church in Freetown Sierra Leone.  If you've seen Blood Diamonds, you've seen part of Samuel's story.  He lived through the civil war and pastored in Freetown through it.  He had invitations to flee the country, other pastors inviting him to Guinea and pastor in safety.  Samuel turned them down every time, choosing instead to pastor his people through the violence and remind them that peace prevails and love is the best response.  Samuel stayed with us for a several days.  Together we shared stories, considered the future and prayed for God's kingdom to come in Freetown and in my community.  Two days after he left, Nathan asked me when Pastor Samuel was coming back.  "Soon I hope, son". Because those are the kinds of heroes I want my boys to grow up around.

Of course there's other stories; my family visiting us in Memphis, camping adventures on the Mississippi River and a family trip to Chicago.  But these snippets and the lessons learned from them will have to do for now.  

Reader Comments (3)

Matthew,

Right after I read your blog post, I came across this quote and it made me think of your #2:

“Sometimes it’s a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.”

- David Byrne

September 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoren

Terry and I now have an apartment in SF so the next time you head this way, at least remember that. We would love to see you and show you our view on the bay!

September 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDelaine Zody

Hey Matthew !!! ,

Hey This Is Michael Sossamon, I hope you remember me.
I just happen to stumble upon your website it;s really cool.
I'm Glad to see that you and your family is doing great !
Well hey You can get ahold of me at Sr.hollister@yahoo.com

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

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